Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 5

Hello, peeps! Alice’s box is the gift that keeps on giving! Christmas is at hand, and creepy white-bearded lechers squeeze through holes left and right – what better time than this to take a peek in Alice’s mind and pillage it of its best ideas?

I’m sharing my best ideas once again in this weekly giveaway. See something you like? A plot progression, a character quirk, a world feature? Take what you fancy! It’s all free, names included!

What do we got today? Let’s see!

The Moonlight Monastery

I had an idea about a story set in 1636 during the Franco-Spanish War. A cavalry commander called Aguilliere (Lady Lydia Clairmont in disguise) leads a band of Savoyard cuirassiers who are fleeing Spanish troops. To the Savoyards’ good luck, mist springs up, and they think they can lose their pursuers. However, from the mist appears a strange, walled monastery. Despite Aguilliere’s sense of foreboding, they take shelter in the monastery, for the cuirassiers are deathly tired, and their horses ridden hard enough to make their hearts burst.

The monastery is of course inhabited by demonic vampire nuns, who have used their dark arts to lure humans into their lair. A bloody feast will soon be prepared!

The twist is, Aguilliere is Lady Lydia in disguise, and she is part of a long line of vampire slayers – a scion of the Clairmont family. However, in another twist, she cannot defeat vampires on her own, as they are creatures physically superior to humans. Lydia needs the fabled Sword of Night, but she left it at home when she ran away to join the army.

Then, in a third twist, Lydia falls in love with the youngest nun in the monastery, the blasphemous vampire Arienne.

Now, Lydia is caught in a web of conflicted desires, as she must save her faithful cuirassiers, do her duty as a vampire slayer, and claim the ostracised Arienne for her own.

History is tons of fun, peeps! Did you know the French soldiers were once obligated to have a nom de guerre? And did you know that a surprising number of women fought in various wars, disguised as men, and many had very long careers? Or that the cuirassiers of Savoy wore grotesque helmets nicknamed “Death’s Head”?

Asmela of the Night Wind

Asmela is the terrifying, invisible assassin of the Gods of Nar. They employ her to keep in check their rebellious stonemasons, the giants of the Dhaal Underworld. The gods have robbed Asmela’s memories and put in their place false ones, making Asmela believe that she is the queen of the luxuriantly fetid Nar Valley. In reality, Asmela was once a rebel chieftain who fought alongside the Dhaal giants to defeat the Gods of Nar. (A play which, obviously, failed!)

Asmela’s sister, Gamala, was once a powerful sorcerer, but she was slain in the war. However, Gamala’s ghost struggles to return from the lands of death, so that she may restore Asmela’s true memories. And, since the Dhaal Underworld lies closest to the lands of death, Gamala’s ghost comes there first, and begs aid from the Dhaal giants.

However, since Gamala is dead, she can’t easily distinguish the dead from the living, and ends up talking to the spirit of a departed Dhaal stonesmith, Kora Xantre. Xantre then speaks to one of her descendants through dreams. This descendant ends up being Asmela’s target.

Asmela kills her target, of course, but with her dying breath, the Dhaal giant tells Asmela to speak with Kora Xantre. This leads Asmela on the path to recovering her memory, and realising that the Gods of Nar have led her like a puppet on the string.

 

That’s it for this Sunday, fellow writers! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Advertisements

Violence: A Writer’s Guide

I hear a lot about various guides on how to write, but for some reason, I never hear about this one. Violence: A Writer’s Guide is written by Rory Miller, and, to be frank, it isn’t a guide on how to write. It is a guide for writers, and it talks about what violence is.

(To be honest, it works as a guide for everybody, but is ostensibly meant for writers.)

In the book, Miller talks about what violence is and how to cut somebody’s arms off with a sword on the battlefield. Also, if you shoot somebody with a pistol, they don’t die. But we already knew that from Anatomy 101. Right?

Seriously, the book’s jam packed with grisly, funny things. (Amend the “funny” part if you don’t share my sense of humour.) It’s of use if you write in the historical, fantasy, sci-fi, action, or horror genres. It’s also of use if you write in some other genre, because there’s more violence in our everyday lives than we care to admit.

The most interesting part of Violence, to me, are the emotions. Namely, people with experience on violent encounters have their stuff wired a bit different. It makes sense, right? If you’ve fought alien space monsters for years, you don’t have the same response to an angry nerd screaming at you as, say, a homeschooled pre-teen does. But most of us writers have jack all to do with serious violence, so we don’t know that, and we just end up extrapolating from our bubble-brained diet coke circumstances.

Violence is trying to remedy that. It’s good stuff, honeypies. Get it, read it.

Alice’s candy blog, vol. 2

Hey, y’all remember Jerry’s Fire Alarm Priority Licorice? Well, guess what! I’ve made an amazing discovery, and it goes under the alias of BAKED LICORICE!

Let me tell you the whole story! I’m so excited, where do I start? So, the other day I was jus’ pottering around, making licorice as I do – but, despite my brightest effort, the licorice turned out too raw!

Then BAM, I remember Jerry’s emergency rule: the oven! So, Imma BAKE that raw sonuvagun! Into the oven she goes, and out she comes, AAAND… she too hard. Bummer.

However, not all of the licorice is too hard. Some of it is actually pretty good. So that gives me an idea, and a few days later I make another batch. (Didn’t make it right away ’cause I ran out of my dopey Urtekram powder’d licorice root.) BAM! Into the oven again! And seven minutes later, SLAM, get outta there!

And guess what? This time it’s perfect as balls!

So what’d I do, exactly? First I cooked up a batch of Jerry’s like regular. Then all I did was put it in 175 degrees (Celsius) to bake, for seven minutes, on the upper level. The time may vary, based on the firmness of the licorice, I guess. Ten minutes might be a nice rule of thumb.

The advantages of oven-baked licorice:

  • is super chewy!
  • taste is groovy, more bakey and cakey
  • THE GODDAM CANDY DOESN’T STICK ANY MORE! (This is the best)

The disadvantages of oven-baked licorice:

  • can get too hard
  • taste is different and texture is drier
  • a little bit of extra work

I verily believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, though! Aah, the golden age of baked licorice begins!

Anyway, what are some of your recent revelations? Share them with me, especially if they concern candy!

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 4

Hello all! This is Alice. Welcome to another Sunday yard sale, where the primary goods are ideas, and prices don’t exist!

As always, Alice is free and easy, and this extends to her ideas. See something you like? Take it! Or be inspired by it! And if you’re so inclined, share your own ideas in the comments!

So, what’s on the table today? Let’s see!

Mother Lord

You know Judge Dredd, from Dredd (2012)? Or T-800 from Terminator 2? Ever since I was knee-high, I’ve been secretly in love with this type of badass character, an unstoppable combat machine, a critter that’ll just keep comin’ on. But at the same time, the overbearing machismo of these types keeps putting me off, as if they were a plate of tongue-wetting cheesecake that stinks of yesterday’s turds!

Now I had my own idea about such a Dredd-esque character that I want to scrub free of stink. As of now, she is called Lord Eva, one of the last automaton “lords” who worked as the bodyguards and landfall soldiers of the ancient regime – a fighting robot engineered to take ungodly amounts of punishment and stay functional.

(I’m also fond of the word “lord”, and wanted to somehow apply its lovely lordly connotations to a female-type character. Unable to find a synonym suitable for a woman, I’m just re-purposing the word itself. Suck it, rules!)

Now, Lord Eva is the hero of the story, but the protagonist is as-yet unnamed girl, and they team up, just like Dredd and Anderson, or Big Guy and Rusty, or Daisaku Kusama and Giant Robo! The twist is that the girl thinks Lord Eva is somehow her deceased mother come to life again, and the whole story is spent trying to find “emotions” inside Lord Eva. And because this is real life, there are none. You may think that’s tragic, but I wanna make it awesome.

I also like robots, FYI.

The Knight of the Horned Goddess

How about a few words about procreation, y’all? This story takes place on Sarpathia, which is sort of like ancient Greece, except loads bigger and with unicorns! So, I had the idea that in Sarpathia, people don’t breed by having sperm shoot into their wombs, but instead, perplexingly, by eating the fruit of the “gamete tree”! (A relic of the bygone times of meddlesome Earthlings.)

So how does that work? I figured that the gamete tree bears fruit only once a year. When it ripens, the priestesses of Areina Plaige gather the fruit and press it into juice. Then all those desiring to be impregnated line up, drink the juice, and hope for the best!

However, because life usually sucks in some way or another, the rich and powerful get to drink first, and maybe even eat a bit of the unpressed fruit. Then come all the rest, in decreasing order of wealth and favour, until the very poorest, who get to lick the bottom of the bowl in the faint hope of having a baby.

…and, unlike in our world, there’s totally no sex. In fact, to suggest that “making babies” is sexual is likely to get you stoned for being a deviant freak!

 

That’s it for today, fellow kids! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Glorious, glorious cheese!

Hello, fellow cheese connoisseurs! This is Alice, your lovely hostess!

What is cheese, besides that most blessed child of the bounteous udders? In writing terms, cheese is a fuzzy concept. It’s either something garish, corny, stupid, and weak or something funny, campy, high-flying and cool in a silly way.

So if someone calls your writing cheesy, they’re either saying, “Stop now and never write again,” or, “Haha, you rock girl, more dis please!”

But, which one? Well, I’ve got a short guide for you right here!

Basically, there are two types of cheese:

  1. The cheese I like, e.g. Brie.
  2. The cheese I don’t like, e.g. Emmental.

And don’t let any bloody Besserwisser tell you which is which! You’re the master of your cheese, and that’s okay!

That’s the trick. First, there are always gonna be haters, no matter how good you get. (And often, the better you get, the more hate you get.) Honey, jus’ sweep the haters off the table like a bunch of cookie crumbs.

Second, never ever lie to yourself.

Cheese is glorious. But not all cheese. (See the short guide, #2.) And you have to admit to yourself that sometimes your writing heads towards stinky Emmental category. (Or whatever brand your hated cheese is.) Those of us who claim they never write stinky cheese are, in fact, lying to themselves.

You gotta listen to your gut. As that lovely cheese of your writing is melting on your tongue, your gut is gonna talk to you. And I don’t mean farts. They come later. No, I’m saying your gut is gonna tell you whether it likes the cheese or not.

And the tragedy is, too many of us suck at listening to our gut. I know I do.

Guts are wise. They know the distinction between good cheese and bad cheese. Trust your gut.

All glory to cheese! Peace out, folks.

Alice’s Idea Giveaway Sunday, vol. 3

Hello! This is Alice! Sunday rolls over us like a thunderhead, so come huddle under my blanket, where the potluck of shared ideas simmers!

The deal today is the same as last Sunday: Alice will give away all her best ideas, for absolutely no charge, to use or abuse, to mutate, substitute, or modulate! Take whatever you want, be inspired, or share your own ideas in the comments!

Without further ado, let’s dump today’s haul on the deck:

The Knight of the Horned Goddess

For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why Boar was a knight in addition to a travelling whore. I just wanted her to be! But, then I had an idea: Boar is a devotee of the love goddess, Areina Plaige, and she fulfils this role as a temple protector – an armed priestess, so to speak! Also, because Areina Plaige’s temples hold the sacred trees of procreation, Boar is also a knight of the trees.

Also, I had the idea that Boar carries in her belongings a lacquered wooden dildo. Since she associates a lot with soldiers, she jokingly calls it her “practice sword” with which to fight “little combats”. And of course, in these combats there is no risk of real death – only la petite mort.

(Yes, this one is gonna be chock-full of cockey sword talk.)

The Maiden of Ulalla and Urxu

Dimna was trained in magic at Castle Yrkraaq. As hardly more than a child, she was sent off on a heroic mission. Now, in her adulthood, she tries to find her way back to Yrkraaq, which is both her childhood home and the dwelling place of her teachers, the toucan knights Caärdry and Myndafarr.

However, I had the idea that for some strange reason, Dimna cannot find the way back to Yrkraaq any more. Also, her magical training remains incomplete. This is one of the central tragedies in Dimna’s life: she is estranged both from her lovely home, the frost-touched Yrkraaq, and the safety of her teachers, who are pan-wise in magic. (Or so she imagines.)

This leads her to certain risky behaviours. Though she is normally careful when travelling the dangerous realms of Urxu and Ulalla, if she catches rumours of her childhood teachers, she is prone to chucking reason out of the window and rushing into danger headlong.

Asmela of the Night Wind

You know how in various mythologies there are generations of gods, with the younger surpassing the older? The Olympians usurped the Titans, the Danaans drove out the Fir Bolg, and so on. Now, I wanted to use this idea, too.

In Asmela’s story, the eldest god is Sul, the Creatress, who ruled when the world was still steaming fresh off the anvil. Sul in turn gave birth to seven angels of the high heaven, who acted as her stewards during the long dark eras of divine illness. Following Sul’s death, the modern gods arrive, and Sul’s children, the seven angels, withdraw to their fortresses beyond the edge of the sky.

Each successive generation is, alas, weaker and pettier than its predecessor. Thus, the modern gods are lazy, gluttonous, small-minded, and vengeful – yet they are endowed with sparks of the same power once wielded by the Creatress. This is an evil combination, and the modern gods enslave entire populations with their power, leading to the central conflict in Asmela’s life: she gradually wakes up to find herself an unwitting assassin to supercilious divinities who are not above robbing her entire memory and supplanting it with gross fairy-tales.

 

That’s it for today, my pretty butterflies! What are some of your best ideas? Give them to me!

Give up

Y’all know what I hate? Perseverance mantras. You know the type: “Fight for your dreams, and never give up! If you work hard and persevere, success will follow!”

Get the fuck off my lawn. Today is all about giving up.

Giving up is good. Kinda like masturbation, it’s a huge stress relief. It frees up energy. It puts distance between us and the struggle, and as all good commanders know, you can’t judge the battle coolly if you’re pumped up with adrenaline.

I think we’ve demonised giving up. And I hate it, because giving up is beautiful.

Try giving up something you love, for example. (Incidentally, why do we idolise “letting go” but still yammer on about persevering and never giving up?)

Or say you’ve been hitting your head against a brick wall. Try giving it up for a year and a day. Then pick it up again. Who knows, your subconscious might have come up with a new angle on it in the meantime! (Or the city maintenance department might have dismantled the wall. Presto! Your work is done!)

There’s another fallacy about giving up that I despise. We present things as either-or. Either you struggle nonstop until you win, or you give up and never try again.

Real life ain’t like that, chickpeas. In real life, you give up, wallow for a bit in your own feces, then you dust yaself off and try again.

Y’know, also called “failure”.